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Press Release

Philadelphia Man Admits Years-Long Sexual Abuse of Eight-Year-Old Victim, Including Manufacturing Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Herbert Smith, 33, of Philadelphia, PA, pleaded guilty in federal court to seven counts of manufacturing child pornography. Smith was indicted as a result of his extended sexual abuse for more than two years of a child who was just eight years old when Smith began molesting her.  

The defendant’s sexual abuse of this child victim came to light when Philadelphia Police served an arrest warrant for Smith for his sexual assault of a different nine-year-old victim. When Police arrested the defendant, officers discovered him lying in bed with that victim. Police seized Smith’s electronic equipment, and the subsequent forensic analysis by the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed hundreds of images of Smith’s horrific sexual assaults against an eight-year-old child, including rape and other sexual abuse of the child after she was given medication to make her sleep. Smith recorded his abuse of the child victim, saved the images and videos on his electronic equipment, and in some cases, uploaded the images to his online storage account.

Smith was taken into custody by Philadelphia Police in August 2019. He has been detained in federal custody since he was indicted federally in September 2019. As a result of his conviction on seven counts of manufacturing child pornography, he faces up to 210 years in prison, which includes a mandatory minimum 15 years, five years up to a lifetime of supervised release, a fine of up to $1,750,000, and special assessments of up to $35,700. Smith must also register as a convicted child sex offender under state law.

“Smith is a predator of young children and has been for years,” said Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney Williams. “With this conviction, and Smith now facing up to 210 years in prison, his victimization of our most vulnerable citizens has finally come to an end. Thank you to all of our agency partners who remain determined to identify, prosecute and convict child predators like this defendant.”

“Herbert Smith admits inflicting repeated horrific sexual assaults on a little girl, and recording the abuse so he could savor it whenever he wanted,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “His actions are unconscionable and the harm he’s done, immeasurable. It’s cases like this that drive the FBI and our partners, as we work to protect our community’s children from depraved predators like Smith.”   

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rotella.


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Updated June 30, 2021

Project Safe Childhood